Make way for one of the most accomplished women in action sports! Monster Energy is proud to welcome skateboarding pioneer Lizzie Armanto from Santa Monica, California, on Episode 15 of the sports and pop culture podcast UNLEASHED with The Dingo and Danny. The one-hour episode sits down with the 28-year-old American-Finnish professional skateboarder known for pushing the boundaries of female vertical riding and competing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“It was weird to think that I went to the Olympics and I’m an Olympian. Suddenly, I’ve been hit on the head with a magic wand, like, ‘You’re a real athlete!’ I think skateboarding showed its true colors and it was represented really well for all the people that got to see it,” said Armanto on the UNLEASHED episode about competing in skateboarding’s debut as an Olympics discipline.
Fans can now experience the story behind the trailblazing skateboarder who overcame adversity to push the boundaries of female park skateboarding as one of the sport’s icons. Released today, the new podcast featuring Armanto is streaming on all major platforms, including Spotify, iTunes, and YouTube.
Regarded as one of the most stylish and progressive women skateboarders, Elizabeth Marika Armanto has put her name on several historic milestones: She was the first female skateboarder to grace the cover of TransWorld Skateboarding magazine (2016). In 2018, she made history as the first woman to complete the legendary ‘Loop of Death’ obstacle in a challenge hosted by skateboard icon Tony Hawk. She has earned a total of three X Games medals (1 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze) and won the sport’s biggest competitions. Today, Armanto endorses signature skateboards, wheels, and footwear. She also appears in video games and films.
All these achievements were hard-earned, as the skateboarding icon had to blaze her own trail. In conversation with the two podcast hosts, Australian action sports personality Luke “The Dingo” Trembath and professional snowboarder Danny Kass, the pioneer speaks on the challenges on her journey, including devastating injuries and bias against women in what was previously a male-dominated sport.
Growing up in Santa Monica, California, Armanto discovered skateboarding in 2007 at the age of 14 together with her brother. At the time, skateboarding was still a men’s domain, especially the riskier terrain of vertical halfpipes and bowls that she came to prefer.
“When I first started skating and the idea of even having a career… it was too hard to have as a goal. Because there was no path to being a pro skateboarder on the female side of things! I just took every opportunity as it came and it just blossomed into a ton of opportunities, which is really exciting,” said Armanto.
Once she arrived on the competitive scene, Armanto soon rose to the top with her own style marked by fluent airs, extended grinds, and classic handplants. After taking gold in her X Games debut in Barcelona in 2013, she claimed silver at X Games Austin in 2016. One year later, Armanto was officially dominating women’s vert riding, with eight first-place titles in bowl and halfpipe contests under her belt. Putting her fame in perspective, Armantos said: “People think you’re superhuman, but you’re only human. You just put in the work.”
As a special honor, the work paid off when Armanto received sponsorship by skate icon Tony Hawk, who issued her a pro model skateboard on his Birdhouse Skateboards label. In 2018, Hawk hosted the ‘Loop of Death’ challenge on a 360-degree loop similar to a Hot Wheels stunt car track. And Armanto is the first woman to date to complete the Loop and ride away unscathed. “It’s crazy! There’s nothing like it, that’s why it’s so challenging. Once you start to do the Loop thing, you can’t hesitate.”
Armanto speaks from experience, including a life-threatening fall in early 2021. She suffered the most devastating injury of her career while riding a Mega Ramp, requiring surgery and extensive rehabilitation. “It takes a lot to build your confidence again. It's scary because you’re just vulnerable. And a lot of people are scared because of vulnerability. Without the right support system, it’s terrifying. Just knowing how to deal with that whole process and be patient with yourself. It takes a lot of guts and courage.”
Armanto still achieved her next milestone: Competing in skateboarding’s Olympic debut and representing Finland on the strength of her dual citizenship, at the 2020 Tokyo Games. “Skateboarding is so disorganized and for it to appear in the Olympics, there were a lot of hurdles to jump. With this past year and Covid, it was so up in the air. So, it was crazy that they got to pull it off!”
Speaking on competing in Tokyo without an audience under strict pandemic restrictions, Armanto said: “It was definitely weird being empty. But after a time of not going to events and not being around a giant crowd, it wasn’t that weird. It was just strange to know that this is a big deal – but no one’s here!”
To hear the full story behind the only woman to brave the ‘Loop of Death’, tune in to the latest episode of UNLEASHED! Armanto also discloses her fear of scary movies, love of black licorice, and designing her own team uniform for the Olympics with a fashion designer. Only on UNLEASHED! Visit the landing page to access Episode 15 of the UNLEASHED with The Dingo and Danny Podcast with Lizzie Armanto.